Tag Archives: empanadas

Overhyped: Girl and the Goat, Chicago

14 Jan

Girl and the Goat is a much talked about, trendy West Loop spot. Walk in without a reservation on a Saturday evening and you could be faced with a 2 hour-long wait. So of course, I had to check it out.

Hubby and I got a 5:15 pm reservation on a Saturday – a little early for dinner, but the place was packed already. We were seated directly behind the hostess stand – not an ideal spot, as hungry diners hanging by the bar seemed to hover over our table. It was a little difficult at times to ignore their conversation – as it was pretty much right over our heads. A row of two-tops opposite the aisle beside us, with bench seating, didn’t appear to be significantly more comfortable given the scant 3 inches between each table. 

Hubby is much more of a food snob than I am – he found the meal to be just ok. He wouldn’t return for the price. He didn’t think the elements of each dish went together very well – the Brussels sprout leaves in the grilled octopus dish were too bitter for example. I didn’t mind the Brussel sprouts, though I didn’t feel like they added much to the dish either in terms of flavour. I guess they’re good for adding some colour. We both agreed that the octopus itself  was cooked excellently though.

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Perhaps because it’s winter, the dishes were quite heavy – everything we ordered was paired with cheese or a creamy sauce. A gigantic plate of wood grilled broccoli came atop a blue cheese dressing for example. The dressing brought a great sweetness to the crunchy broccoli, but I do think the dish could have come with less of it. The “spiced crispies” were basically Rice Krispies, an interesting twist but…c’mon, it’s Rice Krispies. If you’re charging $13 for broccoli, you could do a little better than pulling the garnish out of a cereal box. 

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Hubby really enjoyed the goat empanadas topped with feta. I found them alright – tasty but not outstanding or particularly memorable.

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The wood oven roasted pig face is the restaurant’s top seller, according to our server. It was definitely interesting. Pork jowl, cheek, and tongue formed into a sausage patty provided a texture reminiscent of pork belly. This is a stick-to-your ribs breakfasty dish.

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The dish is best enjoyed with the elements all mixed together into a mess:

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Service was spot-on that night and I was satisfied at the end of my meal. Hubby, because he’s a big, hungry guy with the appetite of two pregnant women, was still hungry after our dinner….but didn’t want to order any more food because most dishes were quite heavy and fatty. 

The best dish of the night was the perfectly pan roasted drum fish with thinly sliced autumn crisp apples (ok I’ll buy that idea), and a Szechuan vinaigrette (a questionable pairing).

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The Final Word: Glad I tried this place once, but it was overpriced for the experience. Service is great, but seating is crowded and the dishes try a little too hard to be unique.

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Info: Girl and the Goat, 809 W. Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60607 USA

Girl & the Goat Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Delicious Mexican: Tu Y Yo, Somerville

17 Aug

When a Mexican colleague recommended Tu Y Yo, my boyfriend and I knew we had to try it. On a Sunday night, the place was not nearly full, but it sounded like several patrons were regulars. Don’t let the plain decor fool you – this place serves seriously great-tasting food.

Tu Y Yo - empanadas - plantain turnovers filled with cheeseWe started with the empanadas – three hot plantain turnovers, crispy on the outside, their sweetness balanced by the gooey cheese inside. We shied away from the empanadas de chicharron de chapulin – turnovers filled with fried grasshoppers. I’m not that adventurous…. but the fact that they’re on the menu kind of validated the restaurant’s authenticity for me.

Tu Y Yo - tamalesThe tamale appetizer came with one chicken, one corn, one coconut, one fish, and one pork tamale, each stuffed into corn dough, and wrapped and steamed in banana leaves. I couldn’t pick out my favourite – they were all so good!

Tu Y Yo - salmonFor our entrees, my boyfriend ordered the pan fried Atlantic salmon in a creamy guajillo sauce with fantastic chipotle-potato and shrimp cakes. I couldn’t stop myself from stealing bites of those shrimp cakes.

Tu Y Yo- Chile Relleno En NogadaI had the chile relleno – a mild poblano pepper stuffed with ground beef, almonds, raisins, peaches and cheese, covered in a creamy and nutty sauce with pomegranate seeds and cilantro.

IMAG2642Everything is delicious here, including the black beans and rice!

Tu Y Yo - avocado cheesecakeThe avocado cheesecake was a unique dessert. It’s a creamy pie on a crunchy graham-cracker crust, topped with crushed pistachios. I must admit, I found it a bit difficult to taste the avocado.

The Final Word: Appetizers and entrees shine with layers of flavour at Tu Y Yo. This is absolutely fantastic Mexican cuisine in a modest but friendly atmosphere.

Info: Tu Y Yo, 858 Broadway, Somerville, MA 02144 USA

Tu Y Yo on Urbanspoon

Pretty Good Mexican: Perro Salado, Newport

17 May

Having been to Newport, Rhode Island a few times now, my boyfriend and I decided we would dine away from the touristy waterfront. We came to Perro Salado on a Saturday night. They were busy, and we were glad we had made a reservation. The restaurant is in and old house, divided into several small rooms. We were taken upstairs and seated in a comfortable corner.

Perro Salado’s drink menu includes some creative cocktails. My guy ordered the cilantro jalepeno margarita. It was deliciously yummy, with the freshness of cilantro balanced by the spiciness of the jalapeno. I had the namesake Perro Salado cocktail, made with grapefruit juice, grapefruit soda, and tequila. There are also pitchers of margaritas available, that would be perfect for enjoying outside on the small patio (It definitely looked like a party-it-up and knock-back-a-few drinks type of patio).

IMAG2369When we inquired about the avocado fries, our server enthusiastically told use that they are a popular appetizer. Large pieces of avocado are battered and fried, served nice and hot. I found the batter to be a bit on the thick side, however.

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My boyfriend really enjoyed the seafood chowder – shrimp, mahi mahi and bits and pieces of scallops in a coconut broth. However, I was underwhelmed by the quality and amount of seafood in the soup, and the flavours didn’t seem to fit a Mexican restaurant.

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Yes, there are two large, half-moon shaped empanadas hiding beneath the cilantro and salsa below. Filled with beans and cheese, they were tasty, but served not hot enough.

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The kitchen’s timing was definitely off – though the appetizers came out at a reasonable pace, we waited quite some time for our entrees to arrive. When they did, results were mixed. Generous amounts of cilantro and sliced jalapenos was a theme, adorning my boyfriend’s three fish tacos, below. The mahi mahi was overcooked and not fork-tender. I’ve definitely had better. I had enchiladas – corn tortillas stuffed with beef short rib, topped with red sauce, large slices of jalapenos, and lots of cheese, served piping hot (finally, yay!)

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We ordered several side dishes as well. The rice and beans were sadly at room temperature, while plantains were hot, crispy on the outside and slightly caramelized – yum!

Happily, our evening finished on a high note – the Mexican chocolate volcano cake was sooo good, with a slight spicy kick. Do not miss out on this!

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The Final Word: Perro Salado has a great atmosphere and the menu has interesting options. Most of the food is a hit, though the temperature can be a miss.

Food: 4/5 | Atmosphere: 4/5 | Value: 3.7/5

Perro Salado on Urbanspoon

Much Ado About Toro, Boston

25 Jan

A search for Boston’s best restaurants brings up Toro. After a foodie friend recommended the Spanish restaurant, my boyfriend and I decided to give it a try. Toro does not accept reservations, so we arrived relatively early – at 5 PM on a Sunday evening. We waited for a table, eagerly anticipating the delicious tapas to come. 15 minutes later, we are seated at two bar stools facing the front window, overlooking the patio. All the tables inside were filled, with empty seats available only at long communal tables. Here’s how our evening went:

5:20 PM: Our glasses of water arrive, and we wait hungrily, hoping to be able to place our order.

5:40 PM: Finally, our waitress comes to take our order.

Toro - tuna belly6:00 PM: After what feels like a neverending wait, our tapas begin to arrive slowly, one by one. The ventresca (tuna belly) arrives first, as one lonely serving – two slices of tuna on one toasted slice of bread, and topped with celery. We awkwardly try to cut this thing into two pieces. This dish is saved only by the yummy tomato tapenade that had soaked into the bread.

IMAG1481Pork meatballs are juicy yet airy, melt-in-your mouth, flavourful goodness.

Toro - stewI really enjoyed the Catalan seafood stew (suquet marisco) with its complex flavours, full of lobster and clams.

IMAG1483Empanadas have a crispy corn shell and a soft interior of potatoes and chicken. They are served with a fine  green tomatillo salsa and light mayo.

IMAG1484The smokey flavour of the smoked duck leg is complemented by the sweetness of a quince glaze.

IMAG1486-1My favourite dish of the night was probably the beef check – it was tender and melted in my mouth, served with a cold farro salad with radish.

IMAG1487Lubina a la Sal, a salt-crusted Mediterranean bass is impressively presented. The whole fish is served on a plank, crusted with sea salt and herbs, and dotted inside with garlic cloves.

7:00 PM – We are finished eating and a busboy takes our plates away.

7:10 PM  – We request the check.

7:20 PM – Finally, the check is signed and we leave.

The Final Word: The food was delicious, but service felt incredibly slow, and it was difficult to get our waitress’ attention. Is Toro Boston’s best Spanish restaurant? Maybe, though Solea, just west of the city, gives Toro a good run for its money.

Info: Toro, 1704 Washington Street, Boston, MA, 02118 USA

Toro on Urbanspoon

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